Councilor Steve Jackson muted during public comment

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 5:32 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Wichita Falls City Council members got into a heated exchange during Tuesday’s meeting after councilor Steve Jackson refused to sit down after being told he could not address budget items scheduled for next Tuesday’s session.

Jackson had been sitting in the audience during the meeting instead of in his usual seat as a councilor, which took the council by surprise. He was the last person signed up for public comment.

But when he started talking about budget items scheduled for next Tuesday’s special agenda, the city attorney stepped in and said it violates Texas’s open meeting law to talk about items not on the current meeting agenda.

“Today, he said he was a citizen. We are all citizens and we all have a job to do,” Wichita Falls Mayor Stephen Santellana said. “We get elected to sit up here and make decisions, not to make a mockery. We have a responsibility and what it really comes down to is ineffective governance. We are not able to govern correctly if we are sitting in the audience trying to make a mockery. I think he has an obligation to sit back up here and if not, he can vacate his position and we will fill it with somebody else.”

Santellana said he will be speaking with the city attorney to discuss the actions that will be taken following this incident. City Council is scheduled to meet next during a special session on Tuesday, Aug. 9.

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